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Investing in real estate can be a great way to start or grow your portfolio and earn extra income. There are many ways to begin investing in real estate: You can invest passively and profit without regular involvement by investing in REITs or crowdfunding, or you could invest actively by managing properties, flipping houses, renting, or listing spaces as Airbnbs.
If you’re interested in real estate rental property investing or if you’re already investing and looking for tips to grow your portfolio, seeking advice from experts is a great way to learn. These are some of the best books for rental property investors to help you get started.
Best Overall: Real Estate Investing QuickStart Guide
This new guide to real estate investing by Symon He touches on all aspects of this industry—from property analysis to the intricacies of commercial real estate investing. He walks readers through the first steps of how to look for the right properties, how to manage day-to-day activities (as a landlord or passive investor), and explaining the responsibilities of safely investing, both actively and passively.
He offers a balanced approach to navigating the world of real estate investing, explaining complicated topics to beginners while including insights that will appeal to even the savviest of investors.
Best for New Landlords: Investing in Rental Properties for Beginners
Beginners looking for the basics of finding, buying, updating, and renting a property will enjoy Lisa Phillips’ 2018 comprehensive guide on real estate investment strategies. Phillips' writing is very approachable. She breaks down complex real estate topics into simple, easy-to-understand actionable plans. This book is designed for individuals who may not have thought of becoming a landlord was a possibility.
Phillips shares strategies on how to better analyze properties so you can quickly calculate risk and potential growth opportunities. This book also offers insight on managing several properties while also contributing to the community.
Best for Passive Investing: The Book on Rental Property Investing
If you don’t have time to manage a property or work as a landlord, passive investing might sound more appealing to you. Brandon Turner’s 2015 passive investment guide provides the educational foundation you’ll need to understand the investing and real estate world before diving into different passive investing strategies.
The Book on Rental Property Investing offers an objective view of common real estate strategies, allowing you to decide which method best suits your lifestyle, financial goals, and current budget. Turner, who started flipping houses at age 21 and currently co-hosts the BiggerPockets podcast, also places a large focus on strategic planning to ensure you go into any investment decision armed with the tools and information needed.
Best for Beginning Investors: The Book on Tax Strategies for the Savvy Real Estate Investor
As certified CPAs and real estate investors, Amanda Han and Matthew MacFarland offer first-hand insight and advice on how real estate and investing taxes work, providing the foundation you need before you invest.
This 2020 tax guidebook is targeted at novice real estate investors but can be helpful to mid-level investors as well. Han and MacFarland draw real-world examples to explain complex tax laws, making it easy for readers with no background in real estate, investing, or finance to understand tax codes and make decisions that will favor them financially.
Best of the BRRR Method: Buy, Rehab, Rent, Refinance, Repeat
"Buy, Rehab, Rent, Refinance, Repeat," or the BRRRR method, was developed by real estate investor David Greene. This 2019 book details each step of his process, including how to start or scale your real estate portfolio, from managing single-family properties to 100-plus unit apartment complexes. This comprehensive guide to house flipping also features a thorough explanation of terms, methodologies, and examples. Greene is the co-host of the BiggerPockets podcast and has been featured on HGTV.
Best for Replacing Your Income Stream: Financial Freedom with Real Estate Investing
“Financial Freedom with Real Estate Investing” offers advice on how to scale your real estate portfolio. Real estate investor Michael Blank shows you how to take the steps needed to earn a lucrative income through real estate. This 2018 book is designed for new investors, those currently managing properties, and passive investors.
Micheal Blank is a top expert in apartment building investing. This book was ranked No. 1 in Business Purchasing & Buying, No. 1 in Crowdfunding, and No. 1 in Job Markets & Advice on Amazon. Blank claims that he can put you onto a path to financial freedom managing rental properties within three to five years if you do the research, follow the steps, and put in the effort.
Best for Flipping Properties: The Book on Flipping Houses
Flipping properties is an attractive option for many current or future real estate investors, but this endeavor requires much more up-front knowledge than most realize. J Scott, an expert real estate investor and co-host of the BiggerPockets Business Podcast, provides his formula for success to become well-versed at flipping houses.
In this guide, Scott explains every potential problem and cost investors can expect when flipping properties, as well as insights on looking out for red flags before committing to a deal. The 2019 book focuses on reducing your risk when buying properties and will guide you through the rest of the process—from rehabbing to selling or renting—to help you receive the maximum return on investment.
Best for Analyzing Properties: Hold: How to Find, Buy, and Rent Houses for Wealth (Millionaire Real Estate)
The most important aspects of investing in real estate are knowing how to read the market, understand property values, and assess risk before committing to any investment, passive or active. Written by six investment specialists, this real estate guide will help you better understand what to look for in a property to minimize risk.
“Hold” will take you through every stage of the buying process: finding the right properties, calculating the costs and anticipated ROI, buying properties, and then holding these investments to maximize your profit long-term. This book was published in 2012, but still offers a strategic formula designed to help both new and current real estate investors find rental properties that will remain profitable for years to come.
Best for Property Management Growth: Buy It, Rent It, Profit!
Successfully renting multiple properties as a landlord or property manager takes time and effort, which is why Bryan Chavis’ 2017 book explains how to make money while managing rentals. This guide details how to set yourself up for success but provides a formula and advice to help you make the right buying decisions. Chavis tackles how to market your properties, manage properties and tenants, and grow your rental portfolio.
Chavis shares the knowledge he’s gleaned over the years as a founder of The Landlord Property Management Academy and top property management coach for Keller Williams. This comprehensive guide provides detailed advice on all aspects of becoming a landlord and even offers sample contracts, letters of intent (LOIs), and other legal forms.
If you’re looking for one book to help you get started in rental property investing or to grow your existing portfolio, we recommend “Real Estate Investing QuickStart Guide” by Symon He. This guide offers an extensive overview of the ins and outs of managing rentals, presents formulas for success, and even provides insight into managing and investing in rental properties, even during a pandemic.
Why Trust Investopedia?
Courtney Johnston is a freelance writer focusing on finance and small business content who has written extensively about real estate investing for Benzinga, Mashvisor, and Clever Real Estate. To create this list, she examined the real estate book market for the best options based on their readability, reliability and trustworthiness of the authors, and the quality of the guidance the books offer. All selections were made independently. Johnston has been researching and writing about real estate investing and buying practices for the past five years.